Chinese Internet firm Tencent finally introduced games to to its mobile messaging app Weixin (users outside of China get a version of the app known as WeChat) in August — and now it has its eye set on bringing these games international.
For now though, Tencent is taking it one step at a time — it has only rolled out the WeChat Game Center to its Android users in Hong Kong, though the iOS app will soon be updated too for users there. Well, at least the games have finally migrated from Weixin to WeChat, and it hints that a fuller international roll-out is imminent.
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The Game Center is located under the ‘Discover’ tab in WeChat, and two games have landed for Android users in Hong Kong in an update today: ‘Pencil Pilot’ and ‘Craz3 Match’. ‘Pencil Pilot’ is a classic fighter pilot shooting game, while ‘Craz3 Match’ lets users match and eliminate tiles formed by cute animals.
Making full use of its location-based services, WeChat players can also search for other players nearby to find game opponents.
Most of WeChat’s Asian competitors — including Japanese messaging service Line — have added on monetization services such as selling stickers and in-app game purchases on their platforms, and WeChat would do well to take the same approach.
After all, in the quarter ending September 2013, Line made 9.9 billion yen ($99.8 million), with games taking up a whopping 60 percent of the revenue, while stickers made up 20 percent.
Games are already showing promise on Tencent’s Weixin and QQ platforms, even if only in mainland China. Five games released through the two services had 570 million registered users within three months, President Martin Lau said during an earnings conference call this month.
Earlier this month, WeChat updated its app to Version 5.0.3 for all international users to include features such as the ability to sign up for the chat app with just an email address, integration with Gmail contacts, and the option to export your chat history via email.
Headline image via Bryanlyt